This article is written by our very own Leah Roberts
Welcome to Part 2 of my Guide to Self-Awakening with Mindfulness and Meditation!
At this point, we’ve talked about how to use Mindfulness in your daily life, what mindfulness meditation is as well as why you should integrate this practice into your daily life. (you can read the full blog HERE.)
In this second part, I am going to talk to you about six different forms of meditations and some different mantras that you can use in your practice!
My hope is that this guide will give you internal peace and self-awakening, as these practices did for me.
I want everyone to feel love for themselves and be grateful for every single thing, in every living moment. To stop stressing about things we cannot control, or living our lives for other people. To create happiness within yourself, to truly love yourself, and to be mindful and appreciative of everything around you.
Six Types of Meditations
Again, each meditation is done in your own way.
Whether that’s alone in your room, standing in your room or in line at the grocery store, laying down in bed with the tv or music playing in the background. You could even listen to meditation audio books, etc.
It is your practice, your way.
The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to re-focus yourself into the present moment. Simply focus on your breathing, and allow your thoughts and feelings to flow– to come and go interrupted, without judgement, respected and appreciated.
While I do encourage creating your own meditation practices, here are some meditation techniques that you can try if this is your first time meditation, or if are starting out in your meditation journey.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
This is, of course, what I practice and encourage and is my own personal favorite. This meditation is designed so that you, the practitioner, can remain aware and present in the moment.
This meditation is meant to discourage dwelling in the past, or even dreading the future to come.
Mindfulness Meditation encourages awareness of a person’s existing surroundings, right then and there. In the moment. The other great thing about this meditation, as with almost all meditations, is that it doesn’t have to be what people think. That is – monk-like – sitting in a quiet room, cross-legged, humming or repeating a mantra.
You can practice Mindfulness Meditation every time you catch yourself thinking about a past, present, or future stressor. Anytime, anywhere. That is the beauty of it!!
An example of this can be while you’re in line at the grocery store. Maybe you begin stressing about your bills, or stressing that the line is taking too long and you will be late for an event.
Instead of stressing about the future, make a point to calmly notice your surroundings and your feelings– the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings you are experiencing in that moment. This allows you to recognize what you are feeling, and make an effort to steer it in a different direction. Focus on your breathing, ground your feet to the floor, and meditate for a minute.
Acknowledge what is around you, appreciate the smells and the sounds. Make a point to calm yourself, and redirect your thoughts to more positive ones.
2. Progressive Relaxation
Progressive Relaxation, also known as “body scan meditation” is an awesome meditation designed to encourage you to scan and recognize what your body and mind are feeling, in that moment.
During this meditation, you will focus on one part of the body at a time, usually beginning at the feet and working your way up.
Some forms of Progressive Relaxation requires you to tense and then relax muscles in that area, recognizing its strengths and weaknesses. Being aware and mindful of those areas.
Other forms of Progressive Relaxation Meditation encourage you to visualize a wave, drifting over your body to release tension. Breath awareness plays an important role in Progressive Relaxation – in all forms of meditation really – and encourages you to be aware of your breathing, while progressive relaxation draws attention to areas of tension in the body.
Progressive Relaxation helps to promote feelings of calmness and relaxation. It may also help with chronic pain. Because it slowly and steadily relaxes the body, some people even use this form of meditation to help them sleep.
3. Love & Kindness Meditation
This is also known as Metta Meditation. The goal of this is to create a new loving attitude towards something or someone.
Research suggests that kind people tend to be more satisfied with their relationships and with their lives in general. We all have a natural capacity for kindness, but sometimes we don’t take the steps to nurture and express that capacity as much as we could.
This is a great meditation to use if you are harboring negative, stressful, or hateful feelings towards yourself, someone else, or something else, in the present moment.
While breathing deeply, make a point to open your mind to love and kindness– the key is to repeat the message many times, until you feel the negative feeling wear off, replaced with an attitude of calmness, love, and kindness begins to take its place. You meditate until those negative feelings wear off, and are replaced by positive ones!
Now that can take as little or as long as you take to replace those feelings. Don’t rush the meditation, and really make an effort to change those feelings. Don’t pretend to have positive feelings. You would only be cheating yourself in this- if you know those feelings have not been replaced, don’t stop your practice.
4. Breathing Awareness Meditation
The goal of this type of meditation is to focus on mindful breathing.
You will want to breathe slowly and deeply, counting your breaths or just simply focusing on a strategic breathing pattern. The goal is to focus only on breathing and to allow other thoughts that enter the mind without focusing in on them.
I phrase it in this way because I don’t want you to reject or ignore your thoughts, but I also don’t want you to focus on those thoughts. I know, that sounds confusing doesn’t it?
If you find your mind beginning to focus on a thought, catch yourself, and redirect yourself back to your mindful breathing. Does that make sense?
Let the thoughts flow on by like a bird flying in the sky. You see it, find beauty in it, but you continue with what you are doing, right?
Focusing sternly on your breathing pattern will allow your mind to focus in only on that, naturally calming your body, mind and soul, and therefore allowing your thoughts to flow freely.
As a form of mindfulness meditation, breath awareness offers many of the same benefits as mindfulness. This includes reduced anxiety, improved concentration, and greater emotional flexibility. In fact, I usually combine my mindfulness meditation with breathing awareness, because they kind of go hand-in-hand.
5. Zen Meditation
Another form of mindfulness meditation is Zen Meditation. Zen Meditation, also called Zazen, is a form of meditation that is traditionally apart of the Buddhist practice. Most Zen practitioners study under a teacher because this kind of meditation involves specific steps and postures.
The goal is like most meditations– to find a comfortable position, focus on breathing, and mindfully observe your thoughts without judgment or rejection. This difference is that this form of meditation requires more discipline, and a longer, more frequent practice. This is where people picture the monks right?!
This is not your casual easy-going Mindfulness Meditation– this meditation is for more experienced meditators. You may prefer this meditation if you are seeking both relaxation and a new spiritual awakening.
6. Transcendental Meditation
Closely related to Zen meditation, follows Transcendental Meditation– a spiritual form of meditation where you would remain seated and breathe slowly.
The goal is to transcend or rise above your current state of being. During your meditation, you would focus on a mantra or a repeated word or series of words.
Typically, a teacher would determine the mantra based on a complex set of factors, sometimes including the year the practitioner was born, and the year the teacher was trained, etc. Therefore, this type of meditation, as well as Zen meditation, are most likely practices that cannot be done on your own.
You can find a teacher or a place who might teach this meditation, or even an audio book or podcast that you can follow along as you meditate! People who practice Transcendental Meditation report both spiritual experiences and heightened mindfulness.
Mantras You Can Use
Now of course, you can include a mantra in any form of meditation, should you choose to.
You could repeat traditional Sanskrit mantras such as: • “Aham Prema” (ah-hem-pree-mah)– “I am Divine Love”.
This mantra is said to helps us connect to the divine love we all have within ourselves and creates a purifying and calming effect on our mind, body, and soul. This mantra is a great way to start your day, or to calm yourself down in any stressful situation! Give it a shot!
• “Aum Gum Shreem Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha” (ohm-guum-shreem-mah-ha-lokshmee-yay-na-mah-ha)– “Aum” or “OM” is pure force – the sound of the Universe. “Gum” is the removal of obstacles, “Shreem” is the sound of abundance, “Maha” is the increase of energy, “Lakshmiyei” represents life purpose, and “Namaha” represents completion and praise. Using this mantra often is said to help align your path with your purpose and to bring greater abundance and prosperity into your life.
• “Om Mani Padme Hum” (ohm-mah-nee-pod-may-huum)– Perhaps the most common mantra in the meditation and yoga world. This mantra is said to help connect ourselves with the blessings of Chenrezig- the embodiment of compassion. When we picture ourselves as the embodiment of compassion, we become more relaxed and we gradually reduce the fixation of our personal and physical being.
You might also decide to create your own mantra. You can do this with a phrase that brings you peace or encouragement, or perhaps your goals for that day, or even a fear that you wish to concur.
This could mean repeating “I am not afraid of public speaking” or “I am enough” “Today will be a successful day” etc., all while meditating.
Now let’s chat about Earthing – what it is and how you can include this in your practice! Stay tuned for the 2rd and final part next week, in this Self-Awakening series.
This article is written by our very own Leah Roberts.